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PUB5002 Writing for Editors: Basic

Semester 1, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Pamela Hewitt
Moderator: Bryce Barker

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


This editing and publishing course is a response to changes in the publishing industry. It follows the stages in modern publishing during which editors need to write. It introduces students to styles of writing which foster productive relationships within publishing teams and appropriate tone and register in different situations. Editors should have an understanding of correct grammar, syntax, language usage, punctuation and capitalisation, and be able to communicate clearly and concisely. They should be able to critically evaluate a range of written materials and identify discriminatory language and defamatory material as well as errors and inconsistencies. Electronic communication will be used for students to practise these skills online. Students undertaking this course are expected to have an undergraduate degree and possess basic literacy and computing skills. There is an expectation that students will be self-directed and will participate in an online discussion group.


This course develops the skills editors will need to write a range of materials during different stages of the publishing process: specifically those needed to carry out editorial tasks such as readers' reports, author queries, and briefing the publishing team. Instruction will focus on the writing skills required by editors: specifically to develop an effective editor-author relationship, to analyse and evaluate texts with the focus on audience, to brief the publishing team including designers, illustrators, multimedia designers and freelancers. Emphasis will be on the principles of good writing including grammar, consistency, punctuation, jargon, syntax and expression. Intellectual property and other legal and ethical concerns will be examined in context. Electronic communication will be covered. Throughout the course the focus will be on clarity and precision in decision-making and expression in developing and producing professional publications.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. identify the writing tasks an editor needs to perform in the publication process;
  2. critically appraise the extent, structure and focus of manuscripts;
  3. Communicate professionally in a range of media
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the communication process between key participants;
  5. write briefs necessary for specific publishing tasks;
  6. use appropriate grammatical construction, syntax, expression and punctuation to communicate well with the intended audience;
  7. negotiate with other stakeholders in the preparation of a publication;
  8. identify issues of legal and ethical concern, and effectively communicate such issues to an author;
  9. demonstrate information literacy as well as effective electronic communication in directed discussion groups.


Description Weighting(%)
1. When editors need to write and to whom - the author-editor relationship with a focus on tone and register. 15.00
2. Communication via different types of media with a focus on audience 15.00
3. Grammar, syntax, expression, and punctuation at an applied level - clear writing which avoids cliches and jargon 20.00
4. Given all the material necessary, brief the production team including a designer, illustrators, and the cover artist for a forthcoming print or electronic book 20.00
5. Identify, in context, legal and ethical concerns such as sexist, racist, discriminatory language, plagiarised and defamatory material 15.00
6. Write directed emails and use Internet sites for editing and writing, including using the discussion group 15.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Commonwealth of Australia 2002, Style manual: for authors, editors and printers, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Brisbane.
    (Revised by Snooks & Co.)
  • Flann, E & Hill, B 2004, The Australian editing handbook, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Brisbane.
  • Peters, P 2007, The Cambridge guide to English usage, 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Whitbread, D 2009, The design manual, 2nd edn, UNSW Press, Sydney.
  • Macquarie Dictionary , latest edn (unabridged) OR access to the online version through

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Students are advised to browse through relevant internet sites such as the Copyright Council's. Others, including web sites about legal issues, are recommended in the study material.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 85.00
Private Study 80.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
PARTICIPATION IN DISCUSS'N GRP 100 10 08 Jun 2012 (see note 1)

  1. Participation in Discussion Group will be graded in terms of argument and depth of understanding of issues.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.